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Exploring Belong

Belong Logo

Developer: Liz Threlfo
Platform: PC –

Even if we don’t admit it, oftentimes people simply want to feel like they “belong” somewhere. This is why we often see groups and cliques form. The gaming community is notorious for this by trying to shoehorn out people who like different games than them, or speak about games in a different way. Belong takes those experiences of being shunned and transforms them into a poignant game.

You start out as a small shape and explore a black landscape for others willing to accept you. Some are different shapes or different colors but no one wants to let you in. Yet, the game has suggested that there is a place for you. But where is it? Wandering the bleak blackness leads one to believe there is no end to the game. Maybe there really is no place for you?

Belong Screenshot

Visually, Belong removes anything that could be construed as distracting from the experience. There are no genders or races or religions on display but simply a square, triangle, and circle of three color configurations. Simplicity allows all players to wedge themselves into the plight of one lone, slightly different shape.

There is an ending, and I felt surprisingly satisfied by it. All in all the game takes ten or so minutes to complete so there’s little reason to avoid playing. It’s a very simple title with a message that we can all relate to. Belong may have been the first game I’ve played by Liz Threlfo but it definitely won’t be the last.

Super Lemonade Factory Review

Super Lemonade Factory Featured

Super Lemonade Factory Logo

Developer: Initials
Publisher: Initials
Platform: Mobile – iOS Ouya PC – Direct, IndieGameStand,

Everything seemed like it was turning around for married couple Andre and Liselot when Andre’s father decided to turn his lemonade factory over to them. All they have to do to prove their worthiness is venture through the entire factory. What sounds easy becomes quite the challenge as the factory is sure designed in an inefficient, puzzling manner!

Of course, that’s to be expected as Super Lemonade Factory is a puzzle platformer. In this game you control both Liselot and Andre (or, if playing in two player mode, just one of them) and help them through each level. Andre can sprint, breaking large blocks while Liselot can double jump and talk to the factory workers. There are some 72 levels in all and working through the latter third of them is quite challenging.

Super Lemonade Factory Featured

Visually, Super Lemonade Factory stands out. Yes, it’s done in pixel art which is common in the indie scene but the color palette is quite pleasing. Each character design is also cute, although Liselot could have done without her frightened-looking run. Music is a different story. It certainly sounds retro, befitting the graphics, but doesn’t always sound particularly melodic. All in all, it’s a mixed bag.

Really that could be said for the rest of the game as well. The concept is solid but it doesn’t feel like it invigorates puzzle platformers in a way that makes it notable. Similarly, it is not the pinnacle of the genre to make it stand out regardless of sameness. Take into account some niggling design choices that can only be resolved with a stage reset and the game becomes much easier to put down. Super Lemonade Factory is cute and serves as a neat little time waster for yourself (or you and a friend) but is mostly forgettable.

Score: 2

2 out of 5 alpacas

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